How are you? Its been a while. A week, right? Because this post is a bit long, I’ll just get right to it. Try to read it all. It’s important information. I am watching you…
Did you know that this year, for the World health Day, the World Health Organization (WHO) decided to focus on DIABETES? Yes, Diabetes is causing them a lot of worry. Because, it is a life threatening condition. It is responsible for the early deaths of so many people. Despite the fact that it can be prevented, a large number of people are diabetic. And a larger number of people will be diabetic in the future, if drastic measures are not put in place. Diabetes causes so many other health conditions. And it is a very expensive disease. Their worry is not baseless. In a country like Nigeria that is still grappling with Malaria, adding the burden of a disease like diabetes will only make its health situation worse.
There are three types of diabetes. Type 1, Type 2 and gestational diabetes. But today, I will focus on type 2 diabetes. Because it is the most common form of diabetes and it is preventable.
For those of you that do not know, I will explain Type 2 Diabetes. Please pay attention. This is as simple as I can make it.
When you take carbohydrates, it changes to glucose (sugar) in your blood and becomes blood glucose. If the blood glucose is too much, it is bad for your body. The glucose is not needed in your blood, it is needed in other parts of your body. That is where insulin comes in. Insulin will take all the excess glucose in your blood and distribute it to where it is needed. When the insulin is not enough to distribute the blood glucose, the blood glucose becomes high. And it leads to diabetes. For those who are overweight, even if there is insulin, the body will use the fat instead of the glucose. So blood glucose will remain high. And lead to diabetes. Do you understand? If you do not, read it again.
In the past, diabetes was not really an issue. People worked harder and ate better. There was less consumption of junk food, hardly any mobile phones and no internet. Now, we eat lots of hamburgers and puff puffs. We take ice cream and we love Linda Ikeji. All these have led to us living a sedentary lifestyle, eating unhealthily or being obese which have contributed to the rise in diabetes. But, do not think it is only people in the urban areas that have diabetes. People in rural areas too consume unhealthy diets. Eating Eba all the time is not healthy. Hence, diabetes does not discriminate. It loves everyone. Rural or Urban. Rich or poor. Male or female. That is why you have to tell Diabetes “Look Mr D, Or Miss D, I do not love you. Please don’t come near me”
To reject the love that Diabetes wants to offer, you have to eat healthily. I’m not going to overload you with so much food advice. I’ll save that for another post. What you need to know is that, when you consume too much sugar, it’s like you are writing a love letter to Diabetes. And of course, when you call diabetes, it will come running to you, ready for some romance. Many people assume that eating sweet or sugary foods is the only cause of diabetes. But eating too much carbohydrates is a cause. Because they get converted to sugar in your body. It is better to eat natural sugar than refined sugar, because the body digests it differently. You get refined sugars from table sugar, white rice, spaghetti, ice cream, fast foods, soft drinks, alcoholic drinks etc. You get natural sugars from fruits, vegetables, whole grains and root vegetables like yam etc. So eat more natural sugars and reduce consumption of refined sugars. E.g Take pap (with honey) instead of custard. Use raw honey instead of white sugar. Drink water instead of coke. Take the whole fruit instead of fruit juice. Eat in moderation. And remember, boiling is healthier than frying.
The next thing that will repel Diabetes is exercise. I know Exercise is hard work. But it is so important for your health. No pain, no gain, right? You can run, skip, swim, dance, take the stairs, walk, do some house chores. Something that makes your heart beat fast will do. Create time to exercise. However little. At least, as a start. I know some of you will be like “But I am slim, why should I exercise?” My dear, there are people who aren’t slim and yet because they exercise, they are healthier than you. Please, stop forming super model and start burning that sugar.
Diabetes is hereditary. But that doesn’t mean, you should say “My grandfather, my father and my mother are diabetic, so I have already inherited it. There is nothing I can do”. That’s just not true. Could it be that diabetes loves your family so much because you all share similar unhealthy behaviours? Even if it is truly genetic in your family, eating right and exercising can prevent diabetes. If it doesn’t, it will delay the onset of diabetes. So that even if you will start taking drugs when you are 65, at least you didn’t start when you were 40, right?
If you have diabetes and it is poorly managed, diabetes will assume you love it so much. After all, according to it, you are not doing enough to chase it away. Do you know what it will do? It will invite other diseases to come and celebrate your union. It can call blindness, deafness, kidney problems, impotence, hypertension, heart problems, stroke, foot sores. Hmm, those sores. Where you have one small ulcer on your foot and then because of your diabetic condition, it gets infected and gets worse. The whole house stinks. So does the hospital. The nurses run away from your ward. And then they may have to cut off your leg. Nooooo. Please, I’ll exercise. There is no point spending my youthful days earning money and then, because of a tightly restricted diet and the fear of these scary complications, I won’t enjoy it.
Oh yeah, before I forget. Children have started having diabetes too. Because these days, they do not play or run around. They eat Nutella and cookies. When they come back from school, they watch TV or play video games. So, they end up gaining a lot of weight. And then when someone touches their cheeks and say “Your child is so cute,” you will smile from ear to ear. Well, you better buy them a bicycle to start riding. Or take them for walks. Because you are not helping them. You are setting them up for some serious health problems in the future.
For those of you who buy the most delicious bread for your parents while visiting, I will advise you to buy oranges instead. As their child, you should do what you can to protect them from this disease. So, sit them down and talk to them.
Okay, this post is getting too long. To conclude, I will use my words as well as those from the World Health Organization “Do not write that love letter. Stay super, eat healthily, beat diabetes.”